PREPARATIONS are underway in the Wimmera for the coming fire season.
Fire-fighting agencies throughout the region have been taking stock of their equipment and training their volunteers.
Country Fire Authority Ararat district operations manager Chris Eagle said up to eight training sessions would occur before the harvest season started.
“Our first training session was two weeks ago,” he said.
There are 65 brigades in his district, with about 3500 volunteers.
CFA Horsham operations manager Dale Russell said pre-season training had also started in his district.
There are 86 brigades in the district, and more than 4000 registered volunteers. “We have a full complement of staff in the district office,” Mr Russell said.
The department’s Wimmera land and fire district manager Russell Manning said his office had spent the cooler months recruiting and training its fire-fighters.
“We’re coming off the back of the most fires on public land,” he said.
He said there were 102 fires recorded in 2012.
Mr Manning said fire prevention measures such as controlled burning and slashing growth on public land blocks would keep the department busy during the months ahead.
The two agencies will join other emergency service agencies – including the State Emergency Service and police – for a six-hour briefing and training session in Horsham on October 8.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells said the session would help agencies work better together.
Updates on operational changes, any improvements to community warnings and the preparedness of the community will be on the agenda.
Mr Russell said the importance of multi-agency collaboration was especially evident during last year’s fires on Valentine’s Day.
He said there were 80 fires reported that day, while crews were tackling fires in the Grampians.
While Mr Russell said it was too early to know when the fire danger season would be declared, he said Wimmera residents could start preparing their homes and properties.
He said fire preparation tips were available on the CFA website: http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/.